Variation and Mutation

Variation

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Content Contributors
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Ben Whitten

Learning Objectives

  • Describe what variation is

  • Explain what the four classes of variation are

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What is variation?
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Variation in the population is differences between organisms in terms of DNA sequence. The main mechanisms for variation include;


  • Environmental factors

  • Mutation

  • Sexual reproduction 


Environmental factors may influence genotypic and phenotypic diversity whilst mutation and sexual reproduction processes may increase genetic diversity. Genetic factors such as dominance, recessiveness, codominance and the other allele systems also influence phenotype.

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What are the types of variation?
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Each individual within a species is unique in its combination of trait variations, compared to other members of a species (intraspecific variation) There are four main classes of genetic variation: 


  1. Morphological: internal/external shape and structure (for example, bird beaks and size) 

  2. Biochemical: chemical composition (proteins, carbs, fats, pigments) (for example, pigments in skin) 

  3. Physiological: metabolism and body processes (for example dilating blood vessels to maintain body temperature) 

  4. Behavioural: perception, thinking, reacting (for example, mate or court selection)

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Causes of Mutations
Chromosomal Mutations
Point Mutations
Effects of Mutations
Sexual Reproduction and Variation
Phenotypic Expression
Environmental Factors
Variation
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